The FTC Decides to Uphold the CAN-SPAM Rule Without Any Changes

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On February 12, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it completed its first review of the CAN-SPAM Rule, a rule governing commercial e-mail. Based on its review, the FTC announced its decision, available here, to “retain the [R]ule in its present form.”

The FTC reviewed public comments and proposals in making its determination. According to the FTC’s confirmation of the Rule available here, of the 92 comments received, most were submitted by individual consumers and many suggested modifications to the Rule. Many comments were responses to specific issues raised by the FTC regarding whether the FTC should:

  • modify the type of messages treated as “transactional or relationship messages,”
  • shorten the time period for processing opt-out requests, or
  • identify additional practices that constitute “aggravated violations.”

In rejecting all of the suggested modifications, the FTC found that no proposed modification presented sufficient evidence that its added consumer benefit would outweigh its increased burden on businesses. However, the FTC stated that it would monitor matters and, if necessary, amend the Rule at some point in the future. The FTC also stated that it will “review and consider revising its existing Compliance Guide for Business” to help businesses “more easily understand the Rule’s protections and requirements.” Finally, the FTC noted that many of the suggested modifications could “inform industry best practices” even if they ultimately didn’t become requirements under the Rule.